Pure Poetry #2: Eileen Myles

Pure Poetry Week:

#1 – 2/23/2011 – Def Poetry Jam, by Riese
#2 – 2/23/2011 – Eileen Myles, by Carmen

I met Eileen Myles on Autostraddle, which was a good sign. My first thought at meeting her was that I had to leave this class I was in because oh my god I found this poet. Eileen knew everything, and her poetry felt genuine. I always feel when I read an Eileen Myles poem that I am getting to know her so much better.

My first Eileen Myles poem said this and was called “Smile”:

time he smiled he thought Eileen
is a fool. Or that’s what love looks

Somewhere between that day and today, the day you let me talk about Eileen Myles, I left class and bought a leather bomber jacket and bought Skies. I had also developed an ebay addiction. Skies is a collection of poems. It was really cheap on ebay. The day after it arrived, I packed a bag and left home. I packed Skies. I didn’t want to lose it so I carried it with me.

That night I ended up at a close friend who also writes for Autostraddle‘s house. At the end of the night it was my two friends and I and Eileen. I read Skies to them.

When I put Skies in my backpack I put away a photograph inside of someone I thought I was losing. I knew it would be safe there because I was going to keep Skies on my bedside table. It seemed cute, just her and I and Eileen.


Soon I had bought Sorry, Tree and The New Fuck You: An Adventure in Lesbian Reading which wasn’t written by Eileen, but she edited it and I knew she’d have good taste. And I took Cool for You out of the library… and renewed it. I saved up for Inferno.

Every time I read a new Eileen Myles book, I end up carrying it on me for weeks. I think I’m going to end up with a good collection. I would never lose it.

“in a few
days you’ll
be shaped
by this
& a new


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Carmen spent six years with Autostraddle, most recently as Community Director, Feminism Editor and Social Media Co-Director. She is now the Managing Digital Editor at Ms. , host of Bitch Media's POPAGANDA podcast and Contributing Editor and co-founder of Argot magazine. Her words have also been published by BuzzFeed, ElixHER, Everyday Feminism, Girlboss, Mic, MEL, and Feministing, among others. Her successful work over the last decade in digital feminism—as a writer, social media maven and activist leader—has earned her the titles of "digital native," "intimidating to some," and "vapid and uninteresting." Everything else you need to know about her you can find out at carmenfuckingrios.com.

Carmen has written 1 article for us.


    • the poem “bone” appears in skies and is my absolute favorite thing in the world. also on page 93 is the poem i excerpt at the end, 44th st station i think? it’s the page i put the photograph in. you’ll know why.

  1. I feel the exact same way I have all of her books and compilations including the new fuck you ( which as you said she edited. They are constantly amazing me everytime i read them I feel like im sitting having coffee with her and I dont know if its me picking what I want out of her poetry and novels but she makes me understand myself so much and in general it helps me through alot. I havent bought or found inferno here yet but I’m destined to read it sometime soon :D. Eileen is great she is like my voice that says just do it! and she gives confidence in myself I like it alot. Im super shy and anxious so Eileen feels like my big sister. In short she rocks and her writings are soooo important. La fin.


  2. I love that feeling when you discover something new and it makes so much sense and seems to be talking right to you and makes you feels all these things at once and you can’t sit still because you just want to get up and do something with it.

    I will look for ‘Skies’ now. thank you.

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